Australia's KTM motorbike driver Toby Price drinks water after finishing the second stage of the Dakar Rally, between Resistencia and San Miguel de Tucuman in Argentina.
Australia's KTM motorbike driver Toby Price drinks water after finishing the second stage of the Dakar Rally, between Resistencia and San Miguel de Tucuman in Argentina. Martin Mejia

Aussie defending champion takes Dakar Rally lead

AUSTRALIAN Toby Price has stormed into the overall lead of the 2017 Dakar Rally with an emphatic win on stage two of the event.

The 2016 overall winner of the motorcycle class charged from 17th at the start of the day to turn a 90-second deficit into a lead of almost three minutes.

Temperatures hovering around 40 degrees again prevailed for the 275km competitive test between Resistencia and San Miguel de Tucuman in Argentina.

It proved a good stage for the Australian contingent, with three riders finishing inside the top 20 on the stage.

It was the seventh Dakar stage victory of Price's career.

Price led at every major timing waypoint, putting more than two-and-a-half minutes on his nearest rival by the halfway point of the stage.

"Today was a whole different day,” Price said. "There was a lot of speed; a lot of fast roads and it was really dusty. We also had to deal with a lot of animals.

"It wasn't a tricky day in navigation but you can't put a cow in the road book and it becomes difficult when they are popping out at you.

"But it's good to get to the finish with this heat.”

The stage was also kind to Sebastien Loeb, who marched into the lead of the car category as Peugeot struck back in what is expected to be an event-long duel with Toyota.


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